British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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122                                     CARE SUNDAY.                         [MARCH 8.
equal probability; for it appears from ancient manuscripts that Car formerly bore the signification of Care or grief, and in Sweden, where the fifth Sunday in Lent is denominated Kaersunnutag, the verb Kcera is actually to lament, to complain.
Dr. Jameson, adopting the opinion of Mareschall, observes, 11 This name may have been imposed in reference to the satisfaction made by our Saviour. Some, however, understand it, as referring to the accusations brought against him on this day, from the Sueo-Gothic Koera, to complain."EtymoL Diet, Art. Care Sunday.
On this day, in the northern counties, and in Scotland, a custom obtains of eating Curlings, which are grey peas, steeped all night in water, and fried the next day with butter:
" There'll be all the lads and lassies Set down in the midst of the ha', With sybows, and ryfarts, and carlings That are bath sodden and raw."
Kitson's Scottish Songs, vol. i. p. 211.
As to the origin of this custom, Brand (Pop. Antiq. 1849y vol. i. p. 114) offers the following explanation:"In the Roman Calendar, I find it observed on this day, that a dole is made of soft beans. I can hardly entertain a doubt but that our custom is derived from hence. It was usual among the Romanists to give away beans in the doles at funerals; it was also a rite in the funeral ceremonies of heathen Rome. Why we have substituted peas I know not, unless it was because they are a pulse somewhat fitter to be eaten at this season of the year." Having observed from Erasmus that Plutarch held pulse (legumina) to be of the highest efficacy in invocation of the manes, he adds : " Ridiculous and absurd as these superstitions may appear, it is quite certain that Carlings deduce their origin from thence." This explanation, however, is by no means regarded as satisfactory.
Hone (Every Day Book, 1826, vol. i. p. 379) says, How is it that Care Sunday is also called Carl and Carling Sunday; and that the peas, or beans of the day are called Carlings f Carle, which means a Churle, or rude boorish fellow, was anciently the term for a working countryman or labourer;
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